Today I’m sharing a super simple and cheap DIY mini first aid kit. You can throw it in your purse, diaper bag, or day bag if your travelling, and know you’ll be prepared in case you feel sick.
I always carry this in my purse whether I’m traveling overseas or just going to the store. This kit is really more for adults than small kids, though some of the items would work for any age. The medicines I included are intended for me, but they would work if you have older kids. I actually made a few of these for my chaperones when I took a group of high school students abroad! I have a separate first aid kit for my twins (they’re 3) that I keep in my diaper bag.
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The base of my mini first aid kit is this Johnson and Johnson first aid kit. The plastic container that it comes in is perfect to fit in my purse or travel day bag, and I just add a few things to make it work for me.
travel Advil, Tylenol, and Dramamine — two of those small travel tubes will fit in the container, or you could buy the single use packs and fit one of each. I usually carry a tube of advil and a tube of tylenol, and throw the dramamine in my bag only for the plane or if I’m going to be on a boat.
blister Bandaids — these are necessary if you’re doing a lot of walking! I always add these if I’m touring a city, hiking, or otherwise walking a lot
Pepto Bismol tablets — these are THE BEST. Do not skip these. Chew two of these if you have any kind of stomach problem (nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea…remember the song???) Bonus — they aren’t a liquid so you can take it on the plane!
alcohol wipes — throw in a few of these in case you get a cut that needs cleaning on the go
I’m so excited to share these amazing rustic farmhouse baskets and bins with you! They are perfect for organizing any room in your house AND will add a touch of farmhouse style to your decor. And these roundups are so super fun to make, too!
There is just something about the new year that makes me want to ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS. The new year gives me such a mental boost! I feel like I have a fresh opportunity to do things better. Streamline, organize, and kick 2017’s butt!!
As I’ve been organizing areas of my house this past week, I’ve noticed how much I use baskets, bins, and other containers to store items. I use different sizes and materials in different areas of the house, but they really are useful in any room!
I use them in the kitchen:
to organize pantry items like granola bars, crackers, baking items, etc.
to store flour and sugar
on the counter for fruit
in the fridge for cheeses sticks and Baby Bell cheeses
in drawers for pens, stamps, and other office supplies
I use them in the bathroom:
to store washcloths and towels
to organize toiletries and medicine
to organize jewelry, hair ties, and bobby pins
I use them in the bedrooms:
in the kids’ room for toys
in drawers for socks and underwear
in the closet for out of season items
Of course not all of the containers I use are farmhouse cute, but some of the baskets and bins below are definitely on my list! My favorites are the wire and burlap baskets (#6), the galvanized metal pail trio (#20), and the farm animal bins (#21). I think the metal pail trio would be adorable on a desk for pens and pencils or in a kids’ space to organize crayons and art supplies. I also love the chicken wire wall bins (#18). They would be great in a mudroom for mittens and hats or even in the kitchen for fruit.
What are your favorites? How do you use baskets and bins to organize in your home?
Pin the image below for later!
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Hi friends! I’m kicking off the new year with my best tip to make everything easier and organize your life.
But first, a little story.
Back in September, on a regular school morning, I was rushing around to get myself and the kids ready to get out the door and on our way. I went upstairs to get my son a pair of underwear, and slipped in my socks on the hardwood stairs on the way down, fell, and broke my arm. Holy heck it hurt so bad. I’d never broken a bone before, but I knew immediately that my arm was broken. It felt crumpled. Like it wasn’t attached right. And It hurt so badly I just lay on the floor in the hallway crying and holding it. My kids rushed over, started crying, not really understanding what was going on. My husband was in the shower. He heard me fall, ran down the stairs (thank goodness he didn’t fall too!) and when he saw what had happened he draped his towel over my arm so I wouldn’t have to look at how gross and broken it was. You guys, he must have been standing in the hallway naked as the day he was born, but I honestly don’t even remember I was in so much pain!
So he goes to get dressed, and I’m just still lying in the hallway breathing hard, crying, trying to hold it together because my precious 3 year olds are just hovering over me, upset and confused. My husband comes downstairs and I tell him he has to make 4 phone calls: my school, his school (we’re both teachers), daycare, and my mother. He grabs the home binder and starts making calls. He calls us both out of school and tells them to use our emergency sub plans. He calls our daycare provider and tells her what happened and that the kids will be late. He calls my mother and asks her to meet us at the emergency room.
We go to the emergency room, they set my arm, my mom brings the kids to daycare, and I come home with a cast up over my elbow. A week and a half later I have surgery and get a plate and four screws to hold my bone in place. A cast, then a splint, then a brace for about 10 weeks. Now, a little more than 3 months later, I’m out of the brace and finally feeling much better.
It was a rough couple of months caring for 3 year old twins with one good arm! The house was put on the back burner, and I didn’t blog as much as I would’ve liked. We ate a lot of chicken nuggets. It was totally unexpected and out of the blue, breaking my arm like that. I still can’t believe I fell down the stairs and broke my arm fetching underwear for my son! But the thing is, things happen. Life is unpredictable. I would never have thought that would happen, but it did, and we were forced to face it and figure it out.
Two things this accident made me grateful for (besides the support of my amazing family, or course!), are our home binder and our emergency sub plans. My husband knew right away to grab the home binder and flip to the contact page to find the phone numbers he needed. It was there, ready to go, when an emergency arose. Also, my husband and I had prepared emergency sub plans to use in case of a last minute, unexpected absence.
This situation could have turned out very differently, had we not had the home binder and our emergency sub plans ready to go. The thing is, there are so many situations in life, and especially life with kids, that you can’t plan for. Life is unpredictable, right? But what you can do is plan ahead and try to be ready for whatever might come your way. This tip, if you follow it, will help you avoid headaches, problems, meltdowns, annoyances, and even help you out in an emergency. Ready for this?
I know, I know, it’s the Boy Scouts’ motto. But they were on to something! If you plan ahead and prepare, life is so much easier. It’s simple but true. This tip really will make everything easier and organize your life!
Here are some examples from my own life:
Getting Ready in the Evening
As a working mom, I try to do whatever I can to make mornings run smoothly. I have to be out of the door with the kids by 6:45 am to get them to daycare and get myself to work. When I spend the time to prepare meals, set out clothes, and pack bags the night before, I’m always a much happier mama in the morning!
Packed Diaper Bag
I always try to have my diaper bag packed and ready to go. With two 3 year olds who are potty training, I still need to carry this around with pull-ups and spare changes of clothes. Not to mention a few books, snacks, small toys, tissues, etc. I’m ready to go when I need to leave the house, and when I’m out and about, I have what I need to keep the kids dry, fed, and entertained.
Mini First Aid Kit
I always carry a mini first aid kit in my purse, and sometimes a slightly bigger one if I’m traveling or on a field trip with students. I keep pain meds, bandaids, etc. in it, and it has helped me out more than a few times!
Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
I try to plans meals for the whole week on Saturday morning, write out my grocery list, and then shop that day. This way I have what I need in the fridge during the week, I save money, and I don’t have the headache of not knowing what I’m cooking for dinner! Check out this post for more details and a free printable grocery list!
A few years ago, I set up a home binder to store important household information. I keep it in one of my hutch drawers in the dining room, and we refer to it often. It has important phone numbers, photocopies of important documents, restaurant menus, and other things we might need. I think we mostly use it to look up the phone number to the pediatrician’s office!
In my teaching life, I try to have everything planned and photocopied a few days to a week ahead of time. This helps if when I have to be out unexpectedly when my kids get sick. I also have emergency sub plans ready to go in case I don’t have anything ready or if what I had planned can’t really be done by a substitute teacher. These emergency sub plans came in handy this fall when I fell and broke my arm. I didn’t have to spend even a second thinking about what my students were going to do, or worry about making sub plans from the ER.
No one’s perfect, least of all me, and there are definitely places in my life that I could be more prepared to avoid last minute headaches. But in all the places where I have used this tip, it has saved me money, time, and a whole lotta hassle!
If the thought of being prepared for everything overwhelms you, try to implement this tip in just one or two areas of your life. Pack lunches the night before. Write down all your important contact phone numbers and post them on your fridge. If you keep preparing little things like this, eventually you’ll be prepared for it all! It really does help make everything easier and organize your life!
What do you prepare ahead of time to save you a hassle later on? I’d love to hear in the comments!
Hi friends! I can’t believe this is the last day of 2016! My 2016 was filled with so much love, joy, family, and friends and I am oh so grateful for all of it.
With the new year come new year’s resolutions. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions. I’ve never even really had a new year’s resolution, really. More power to those of you who make resolutions, but it has always been so hard for me to narrow down my goals for the upcoming year to just one resolution. I want to do so much! Blog! Be a better mom! Be more organized! Exercise! Make time for myself! Paint the deck! Bake more! Etc. etc. etc.
So when I saw the idea of a single word to represent the upcoming year, it sounded like just the thing for me. It feels more inclusive, and gives me more freedom. I can choose one word to focus on, to inspire me as I tackle all of my goals and projects throughout the year. One trait, or characteristic, or emotion, or whatever, that will guide me. And Lord knows I need some guidance! As a high school English teacher, I deal in words, so to use a word to symbolize a year’s worth of goals, challenges, attitudes, and accomplishments just feels right.
Without further ado, my word for 2017 is . . .
Here is how I hope to grow in 2017:
I’ve been blogging casually for about 6 months, but I really want to grow my blog, my readership, my social media channels, and my income this year. I have already started doing this by planning out my posts for January and learning about blog growth through tutorials, books, and classes. I hope to implement all that I’m learning and become a better blogger! My goal is to grow Sweet Maple Lane to be able to connect with more mamas!
Teachers Pay Teachers
You might not know this, but my day job is teaching high school English. I also create and sell secondary ELA products on Teachers Pay Teachers through my store, A to Z English. In 2017 I hope to add more products to my site, including some for high school theater, which I also teach. I have a lot of ideas for products to help other teachers and expand my offerings on Teachers Pay Teachers.
This is ongoing for us mamas, is it not? I always feel like I can grow and be a better mom to my two wonderful kiddos. This year my twins are 3. If you have/had kids this age, you know it is both awesome and challenging (like all ages, I guess!). This year I hope that I can learn from my mistakes, listen to my children, help them learn, and grow as a mother.
I have been tracking our finances since we’ve been married, but this year I really want to get down to basics with our budget. We are running pretty tight each month, so my goal is to keep close track of our spending to see where we might save some money. I’m trying a new website/app to track our monthly budget, so look out for a review here on the blog sometime in January.
I grew up in the Catholic faith, but my family stopped going to church when I was in middle school. In recent years I’ve been wanting to start exploring my faith and attending church, so I checked out a few local churches and started going to one regularly in September. In the new year, I hope to grow in both my faith and as a member of the church. There are a lot of outreach programs for local charities and organizations that I’d like to get involved in, so I hope to make the time to do that in 2017.
And More . . .
Of course, there will be more as the year goes on, but that’s where I’m at right now. And that’s what’s nice about a new year’s word. I can add to my goals as I need to, all the while keeping the word ‘growth’ in mind. I think my favorite thing about this new year’s word idea is that, because it’s not a resolution, it can’t be broken. I will live, I will learn, and I will grow, with no resolutions to keep or break.
If you’re interested in choosing a word to inspire your 2017, check out the list below. I hope you find just the right word to guide you through your next journey around the sun!
I’d love to know what your word is (or resolution, if that’s your thing) for 2017! Let me know in the comments!
I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and if you have time off this week like me (#teacherperks), you’re probably cleaning up, organizing all your new stuff, and packing up all your Christmas decorations.
The period after Christmas has always been the hardest for me to decorate. The house seems a little sad without all the cheerful red and green, and I’m severely lacking any winter decor to take it’s place. I’ve been scouring Amazon looking for cute winter decor to brighten up these dark winter days, and I wanted to share some super cute pillow covers!
If you saw my fall or Christmas pillow cover roundup, you know that I prefer pillow covers over throw pillows. They’re cheaper, easier to store, and easier to keep clean — just throw them in the wash! You can buy the pillow inserts once, and then change out your covers all year to suit the season or your mood!
Below are my picks for winter pillow covers to decorate with after Christmas. I was going for a cozy, neutral, icy vibe with the burlap and ice blue.
Pin the image below to save it for later!
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Hi friends! I hope everyone had a magical Christmas or is still enjoying a lovely Hanukkah or Kwanzaa!
We had a wonderful Christmas, with still one celebration today with my in-laws. I spent time with family, ate yummy food, and loved seeing my kids get so excited over everything this year. Now that they’re three, they understand what’s going on a little bit more, and really enjoyed all the celebrations!
Now that Christmas is over, it’s almost time to put away all of the holiday decor. I’m always a little sad to pack up my Christmas decorations. We usually leave everything up, including the tree, until New Year’s day, and then I put away all of the overtly ‘Christmas’ decorations, pack up the ornaments and lights, and lug the tree into the woods.
I have a lot of spring, summer, and fall decor, but am lacking winter decor that isn’t ‘Christmas’ decor. After I pack up the Christmas decorations, I always struggle with what to decorate with! I’ve been searching Amazon for winter decor items that don’t scream ‘Christmas’, and I wanted to share some of these finds with you!
I’m leaning toward a neutral color scheme as a break from all the red. Check out these wintry, cozy, non-Christmas decor ideas, and pin the image below to save it for later!
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I am so very blessed this Christmas! Thank you for reading, for commenting, and for coming with me on this journey! I hope your Christmas is filled with love, laughter, and joy. Embrace it with a joyful heart. Remember how lucky you are. Kiss your kids and hug your friends.
Have a holiday party coming up and need a last minute hostess gift? Read on, friends!
Whenever I’m invited to a party, formal or casual, I always like to bring a little something. Sometimes it’s food or drink, sometimes just a little something to say thanks.
During the holidays there are so many parties that sometimes they sneak up on me! It’s nice to have a few ideas at the ready so you can grab a gift and show your gratitude to whomever is throwing the party. I put together this list of last minute hostess gift ideas to help you out this holiday season!
Pin the image below to save it for your next party!
This is such an easy one, but always appreciated! Grab a bottle of red, white, or sparkling on your way to the party, some fancy beer, or a bottle of something a little stiffer. If you have a bow or some ribbon on hand, use it to dress up the bottle a little. If no one drinks it at the party, the host can drink it herself or keep it on hand for next time!
If you’re like me you’re baking Christmas goodies the whole month of December, so package some up in a cute little tin and bring them to the party! Just like wine, the host can either set them out at the party or save them for herself!
Pick up something on the way or on your weekly grocery trip for everyone to enjoy at the party. I’m always appreciative when guests bring a yummy appetizer to munch on! Try:
cheese and crackers
chips and dip
veggie or fruit plate
Pick a candle with a holiday or seasonal scent to show your gratitude toward the host. You can pick up scented candles at your local grocery store or pharmacy, so this is an easy one to grab on the way to the party! This is my absolute favorite holiday scent!
Stop by the grocery store or local flower shop on the way, and pick out some fresh flowers or a small potted plant for your host. My sister came to Thanksgiving at my house with a pretty little potted succulent, so cute!
Wine stoppers with little figurines on the top are everywhere this time of year. This is a great hostess gift, because it can be used at the party and then reused again and again. I always see these for super cheap in TJ Maxx, or this Christmas Vacation themed one is hilarious! Love that movie!
Like wine stoppers, wine charms can be used over and over! I’ve seen these at TJ Maxx and Target, or order them ahead of time from Amazon. I love these cute Christmas ones!
Homemade Jam or Salsa
If you’re someone who cans or does jam or preserves, save some to give as hostess gifts! Slap a cute label and a bow on it, and you’re good to go! Easy and so appreciated. Everyone loves homemade!
A nice box of chocolates can be bought at any pharmacy or grocery store, but feels special and decadent. The hostess can choose to share at the party or keep it for herself!
Pick up a really good bag of ground coffee (or beans if you know the hostess has a grinder) to bring to the party. This is another one that can be served at the party or saved for later.
I’d love to hear your ideas for hostess gifts! What do you bring when you go to holiday parties?
Oh the magic of Christmas! I’ve always loved the Christmas season: the lights, the carols, the treats, the decorations!
And then there’s the shopping, the planning, the cleaning, the wrapping, the money, the stress, the guilt. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed this time of year. I know I feel the pressure of having to do Christmas right. For my kids, myself, society.
Do you ever feel that way?
It’s so important to stop, to breathe, and to remember that there is no ‘right’ way or perfect way to do Christmas. Every family does it a little differently, and we can even do it differently year to year. And that’s ok.
Last year you got professional photos for your Christmas card, but this year you don’t have the money or the time? Totally fine.
Your sister makes 15 different kinds of cookies and gives cookie platters to everyone? Good for her. (And yum!)
You wish you could decorate your house from top to bottom, but your kids are babies/toddlers and it’s a disaster/nuisance/safety hazard? Don’t worry!
Do what you have time for, what you can afford, and what makes you happy.
These traditions make me happy, and so I keep doing them, year after year. They aren’t fancy, or expensive, or elaborate, but they bring the magic of Christmas to my family.
Some of these traditions I did with my family growing up, some my husband did with his family, and some we started when we got married and had our kids. Each one of these traditions is simple, and some I’ve altered to fit better in this season of our lives. Each one brings me joy, so I’ll keep doing them as long as they do!
Cutting Down a Christmas Tree
This was a tradition that I did with my family growing up. Here in New Hampshire, and next door in Vermont, there are a ton of amazing farms that have Christmas tree cutting in December. I have such fond memories of getting all bundled up with my siblings and trudging through the snow to pick out the perfect tree. My dad would cut it down, we’d strap it on the car, and we’d all head home to set it up and decorate.
With my husband and kids, we’ve been going to this great Christmas tree farm in Vermont for a couple of years. They have hot cider or cocoa and Christmas cookies in the farm store, and the kids have fun running through the trees in the field. It’s just a beautiful spot and a fun day.
Decorating the Inside of the House
We always cut down the tree and decorate the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We get the tree, bring down the bins of decorations, play Christmas music, and get festive! I decorate the main spaces of the house: the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It’s fun to put away all of the pumpkins and fall decorations and spread a little Christmas cheer throughout the house!
I store the Christmas childrens books in with our Christmas decorations. This way, when we bring everything down Thanksgiving weekend to decorate, we rediscover our favorite Christmas books! I leave them out mixed in with all the kids’ books for the season, and then pack them away with the decorations after the New Year.
I use the same advent calendar with my kids as I used as a kid growing up. My mom generously gave it to me when I had my twins, and it’s one of my favorite Christmas items! It is a cloth advent calendar with little pockets for each day. There is a Christmas scene on the top part of the calendar and a little mouse that you move into the pockets to count down the days. Because my kids are 3, the mouse is almost never on the right day, but just seeing it hanging in my house reminds me of my childhood Christmases and brings me so much joy.
Christmas Cookies and Treats
During the Christmas season, I try to bake as many cookies and treats as I have time for. Some of my favorites are sugar cookies with icing, peanut butter kiss cookies, chocolate crinkle cookies, fudge, and pretzel turtles. I bake one treat on a Saturday or Sunday and am able to indulge in the yummy festive desserts of the season without too much time or energy spent.
Eggnog in Coffee
I start buying eggnog after Thanksgiving, and use it as creamer in my coffee until New Years. Is that weird? Who knows, but it’s yummy! It’s such an easy thing, but really make me feel festive and Christmas-y!
Cinnamon Rolls on Christmas Morning
This is a tradition from my husband’s side of the family. His grandparents, then mother, would bake homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast every Christmas morning. I admit I don’t make them homemade, but I do continue this tradition with store bought cinnamon rolls (the kind that come in a can and you bake). It’s an easy breakfast and makes the whole house smell amazing!
An Orange in your Stocking
This is something I got growing up, and I know of a lot of families do this as well. Everyone gets and orange in the bottom of their stocking. It always made me feel like I was in the book Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Does anyone remember? An orange and a peppermint stick? It’s such a simple tradition, and it’s also a great addition to breakfast!
December is here and that means gift guides! Yesterday I shared my gift guide for 3 year old boys, and today I’m sharing one for 3 year old girls. I have 3 year old twins, a boy and a girl, so these are real ideas from a mom with 3 year olds!
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My daughter loves anything little and cute, and these adorable kitties are both! They also have a set of baby twin kittens that I know she would love. We have a big wooden dollhouse with furniture but no people, so these would be perfect!
My daughter got this set for her birthday two weeks ago and both her and my son love it! They tend to their stuffed animals with the vet tools, but also use them to play doctor with each other, so cute!
Both my kids are really into stickers, but I hate how quickly they get used up! This set comes with puffy reusable stickers and a book with different scenes. Your little one can play with it over and over!
I got Dream Lites for my kids for their birthday two weeks ago and they are great! They project stars and a shape (Minnie Mouse in this case) on the ceiling that lights the room just enough to not be “scary” but keeps it dark enough to sleep! Little ones just press a button to turn it on and change the colors of the lights, and it automatically shuts off after 20 minutes!